Cleveland Animal Shelter Director Gene Smith presented statistics for animals handled at the municipal shelter for the fiscal year July 2010 to June 2011 at the bi-monthly August Shelter Advisory Board meeting chaired by Dr. John Owens.
Reports showed the following: animals handled, 5,499. Animals adopted, rescued and claimed, l,441. Animals euthanized, 3,906. A total of 106 were “dead at shelter” while seven were “missing/stolen.” Owners surrendered 3,525 animals to the shelter and l,974 were picked up as strays. Calls from the city totaled 2,971, and from the county, 3,767. Warnings written totaled 135. Citations written totaled: 30 in the city and 22 in the county. A total of 377 animals were caught in traps. Sixty-six animals were “picked up with tags.”
Smith explained that “1,843 fewer animals were euthanized this year than last year.”
Shelter secretary Jennifer Rogers, who compiled percentages in all categories for the year said this represents “a 32 percent decrease in euthanizations for the fiscal year of 2011 over 2010 figures.” The significant decrease was attributed, in part, to the shelter’s transportation program and also to efforts of rescue groups. With introduction of the relatively new transportation program, accomplished by hiring a part-time driver, all shelter-adopted pets are taken directly to the veterinarian of choice prior to going to adoptive homes.
This ensures that vetting, including spay/neutering if old enough, will be completed. Previously, although adopters signed on promising to complete vetting, that step by adopters often would not occur, resulting in unwanted litters which, sadly, often wound up back at the shelter.
Disaster preparedness for Cleveland and Bradley County pets was the subject of a presentation by Nancy Pearl of Black Fox Pet Resort on Tunnel Hill Road. Pearl had recently participated in an in-depth Georgia pet preparedness seminar where plans are in place to safely house countless Georgia pets displaced following disasters. Following the devastating April 27 tornado here she said her kennels were filled with displaced pets — a situation that occurred for many local veterinarians and rescue groups when homes were blown down or severely damaged during that disaster here.
She recommended that a FEMA grant be applied for by the city and county to obtain a vehicle that could house 50 pets during disaster evacuations. The local cost to city and county would “only be about $17,500.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland ,who was present at the meeting, advised contacting the Emergency Management Agency to apply for this FEMA grant which was applauded both by shelter director Smith and board chair Owens.
“We need this in order to be in compliance with state law, Smith said. Both Smith and Owens expressed how pleased they are to learn of the lower intake and euthanization numbers for the year. “I believe this is one of the lowest intake numbers we have had since I became an animal control officer in l987 and then director eight years ago,” Smith said.
Both also hoped that obtaining a vehicle for emergency pet evacuations would become a reality.
Paws up this week to: Mayor Tom Rowland; Ralph and Linda Johnson; Cathy Peterson; Nancy Baker; Kathy Erwin; Deanna Phillips; and all who adopted a shelter pet and saved a precious life.
To reach the shelter, 479-2122. Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, 728-5414 or write to P.O. Box 4864, Cleveland, TN 37320.